Former Tory councillor launches petition opposing early plans for ‘unprecedented’ solar farm sites in Northamptonshire

The plans are still in their early stages
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Following the news of early plans to install solar farms in villages across Northamptonshire, a veteran councillor and former leader of Wellingborough Borough Council has responded with a petition to reconsider the size of the Green Hill Solar Farm development.

A non-statutory consultation took place at Mears Ashby village Hall this week to discuss the early plans for 950 hectares of solar farms around villages including Mears Ashby, Earls Barton, Bozeat and Walgrave, which received some criticism from attendees.

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Cllr Martin Griffiths (now Independent) was not present at the meeting on Tuesday, but has long held the belief that its proposed size could have a huge impact on local communities.

Cllr Martin Griffiths has launched a petition asking for the plans to be reducedCllr Martin Griffiths has launched a petition asking for the plans to be reduced
Cllr Martin Griffiths has launched a petition asking for the plans to be reduced

The petition was started on March 6, and currently has more than 230 signatures.

He said: “The proposed solar farm, between Easton Maudit and Mears Ashby, in our community is on an unprecedented scale that could have significant impacts on our local environment and way of life.

"While we recognise the importance of renewable energy sources for a sustainable future, it's crucial to balance these needs with preserving our community's character.“This solar farm, if allowed to go ahead in its current scale, will be the largest in the UK and the ultimate decision maker is the secretary of state and not your locally elected representatives."

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The plan is for approximately 2,347 acres of land across seven sites and 10 parishes to house solar panels and other necessary equipment needed to keep them operational.

A statutory consultation will take place in September and October this year which will ask for public feedback, although attendees at the Tuesday meeting were all-too-eager to express their concerns early, with issues relating to food production, biodiversity, house prices and visual impact.

Cllr Griffiths, who has had his hands full this week with the emergence of a new Independent Alliance with Cllrs Cedwien Brown, Joseph Smyth, Jim Hakewill, believes that local people should have more of an input on how north Northamptonshire adjusts to the national charge towards a carbon-neutral future.

He added: “Our community deserves a say in how we transition to renewable energy sources. We should be able to choose solutions that respect our environmental concerns while still meeting energy goals.“Therefore, we urge decision-makers involved in this project to reconsider its scale and impact on our community.

"Let us work together towards a solution that benefits everyone - one that embraces clean energy without compromising the integrity of our local environment.”